The Redskins are tied first place in the NFC East and they currently have an edge in the tiebreakers but they still have a long way to go before they can claim their first playoff berth since 2012.
Washington is tied with the Giants at 5-6, with the Eagles a game back at 4-7 and the Cowboys bringing up the rear at 3-8. Although the Eagles and Cowboys are both technically alive in the hunt for the division title we will set them aside for the purposes of this discussion and focus on the two teams who right seem to have the more realistic division title aspirations.
The first tiebreaker for a tie in the division is head-to-head results. The teams split their two games so they move on to record in the division. The Redskins are 2-1 in the NFC East with three division games left while the Giants are 2-3 with one division game remaining. Here is a look at the remaining games:
Redskins—Cowboys, @Bears, Bills, @Eagles, @Cowboys
Giants—Jets, @Dolphins, Panthers, @Vikings, Eagles
The first thing to look at here is that the Redskins’ remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of .364 while the Giants’ slate has is at .600. None of the Redskins’ opponents has a winning record while the Giants take on three teams over .500 including two NFC division leaders.
The second thing to note is that the Redskins can guarantee that they will hold the division record tiebreaker with two wins in their remaining three division games. That would give them at least four NFC East wins while the Giants can end up with no more than three.
There are many ways that this thing could finish but let’s look at one plausible scenario. Let’s say the Redskins win on Monday night against Dallas, lose on the road to the Bears, beat the Bills at home and an Eagles team that is in disarray, and lose in Dallas in the finale. That would put them at 8-8 with four division wins.
That would force New York to finish 4-1 in their last five games, beating either the 8-3 Vikings on the road or the undefeated Panthers at home in the process while taking care of business in their other three games. If the Giants finish 3-2 to tie the Redskins at 8-8, the division record tiebreaker would give the division to the Washington under this scenario since New York can’t win more than three division games.
Again, with five games left a lot can happen. Scenarios shift every week and we should be able to see things more clearly after the Redskins take on the Cowboys on Monday night.